Lessons Learned from Our Stamford Museum and Nature Center Exhibit

Fellow I LUG NY members,

First, I’d like to thank Bill for organizing the layout, contacting the museum and having I LUG NY be a part of the fun that was Stamford. I told friends in Will’s Smart-van that the time we spent helping set up the display was an experience that I will never forget. It was a fantasy of mine as a child to have a LEGO layout the size of my basement and I was able to live this fantasy out in Stamford. I found it very cathartic to help bring the layout to life.

Upon seeing the museum brochure for the exhibit I teased Bill (briefly) about being “everyone’s favorite conductor” but I must say, he conducted the event and layout superbly and in a dedicated/professional/devoted manner.

Now on to some lessons learned:

1-Use a paintbrush to brush dust off of models/mocs-man is this a great way to do the job. Cheaer than air canisters and without the bitter taste associated with breathing the fumes in from said canisters.

2-I know the layout plans were an investment of time and energy by Bill. Maybe he can share this program for creating baseplate layouts with the group?

3-If you plan on keeping models together once you dismantle the layout, pack accordingly. This means having boxes, bubble wrap, ziplocs, and labels for what you have to put back in these containers so you don’t have to do twice the work when you get home.

4-Either photo or add a tiny element to the bottom of your vehicles so you know what is yours when you tear down the display. I mistakenly had 1 of Bill’s vehicles in my pile of models and when I checked the undercarriage of the car I saw a green 1×1 plate attached to it. This is a great way to remember what is yours!

5-Round up the troops way in advance so many people can help with set up and tear down. It takes a small village to set up a layout of this magnitude.

6-Interact with the public. You will appreciate their insights and questions. I had a blast talking with the parents, kids and potential new members who visited the display.

7-Try to be there on the day when famous movie stars visit the display!

8-It was great to see how other members build. I am still blown away by Mike’s barn and Brett’s hangar.

I hope we can be a part of this next year and in other museums!

I LUG NY LEGO Showcase at the Bar Harbor Branch of the Massapequa Library

Last week Hope and I installed our display at the Bar Harbor Library in Massapequa, NY. We went on Tuesday evening (this after going to and from Stamford the day prior to help take down the Stamford Museum layout we had) and spent about an hour and a half setting up the display.

Rick was thoughtful and provided several MOCs including but not limited to the Pikachu mosaic and ILUGNY.org nameplate that he reworked from ILUGNY.com.

Will provided the Winter Village scene that is elevated on the bottom right hand corner of the bottom shelf.

Bill let me borrow his Polar Express seen running across the top shelf of the display.

I added several LEGO related books, a copy of The Polar Express (again-thanks Bill) and 2 copies of Brickjournal to round out the display as well as tie in reading (this is a library after all).

I originally had packed my Prius with many more MOCs and sets to display but the library only had the 2 shelves that we used in this showcase. When I requested 2 shelves I thought that meant 2 shelves running across the entire length of the showcase, not 2 shelves that when placed together would run across 80% of the showcase. Needless to say, much of what I lugged up to the library had to be lugged back down to my car. Thankfully one of the circulation desk clerks was extremely helpful with wrapping boxes that we used to prop models up with, supplying the red fabric to cover other boxes and providing me with a book cart to lug boxes down the wheelchair ramp to my car.

Hope and I went back the next night to add finishing touches such as the I LUG NY logos and LUG description sheet. It is my hope that other adults living in Massapequa will see this display and contact us to learn more and possibly join the LUG.

Thank you to my wife Hope and friends Rick, Will and Bill for loaning their models.

Site Updates


Recently, the old plugin that I was using for OpenID authentication stopped working, so I had to switch to a plugin offered by oneall (http://www.oneall.com/).  So don’t be alarmed if you see mention of oneall or ilugny.api.oneall.com when you log in using another account (like Google or Facebook).


We now have a new event calendar plugin,which can be seen at the top right of the page.  As we figure out the locations for each meeting, those events will be updated.  Clicking on an event will give you some neat options, like adding it to your calendar, and will display a Google map of the meeting place.

Meeting Dates for 2012-Meetings begin at 11 am

Jan 21 Queens Center Mall-cancelled due to snowstorm

Feb 4 -Brett’s Studio
Feb 18 -Queens LEGO Store
Mar 18 -Javits Center for FLL Tournament
Apr 21
May 19
Jun 23
Jul 21
Aug 18
Sep 15
Oct 20
Nov 17
Dec 15

Meeting locations to be determined. They will rotate in order to be fair to us. I know that no location works perfectly for everyone based on geography but we all have to travel in order to meet up so we should communicate in order to arrange car pools and split gas and tolls. These are the dates we discussed at the December meeting. Barring any LEGO event conflict or other event such as Comic Con these will be the dates we plan our meetings for.

New LUG Showcase Model Boldly Goes to Rockefeller Center in NYC

Star Trek Legos via I LUG NY

A total of seven models (not including the trans-clear base) are in place at the Rockefeller Center Lego store in Manhattan, made by newest I LUG NY member, Sid.  Installed on a busy Friday night, the models — five Federation starships and two Klingon ships — are based on those from Star Trek movies and TV shows.  Hope you get to check them out in person!

LUG Showcase Windows in Queens & Roosevelt Field

On November 17th, Brian, Rick and I changed out models in both the Roosevelt Field and Queens stores.

First up, the CC-Standard Modular buildings by Brian and Rick, with assistance from Will, which we installed in the Roosevelt Field store.

The interior detail on all of these buildings are fantastic.



Next, we delivered the Holiday scene to Queens, complete with miniature LEGO store.

 I can’t get over the number of little details packed into this one.


Head on over to our group Flickr pool to see more!


Stamford Museum & Nature Center – NY Times article

N.Y. / Region


Small Wonders, Made by Hand

Lego enthusiasts led by Bill Probert created the bustling town now on display at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center.
Published: November 25, 2011


A COMBINATION of remarkable ingenuity and pure fun can be found in two exhibitions at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center: “Visions of Gingerbread III: The Sweetest Architects” and “All Aboard With Bill Probert and Friends II,” each of which demonstrates meticulous planning, design and construction skills.

The museum has an annual show of gingerbread creations.

Nearly 400 square feet in size, the cityscape will continue to be rearranged during the show.

“All Aboard” fills the museum’s Leonhardt Gallery with a nearly 400-square-foot metropolis built entirely of Lego. Three railroad trains and two monorails activated by motion detectors travel across farmland planted with about 3,000 ears of corn, each consisting of 10 Lego pieces; to and from an airport where several planes are in flight; past a soccer field and campsite (you can see the campers’ dinner roasting on a spit); and around a downtown bustling with shops, cafes, a five-story department store and hundreds of busy figures.

The environment was created by Bill Probert, 52, a Lego enthusiast for the past 20 years, with help from members of Lego fan group: I LUG NY. All are part of the international Adult Fans of Lego community (members call themselves AFOLs).

Mr. Probert said that about 80 percent of the Lego pieces he used in “All Aboard” were no longer available in stores. “Some I bought years ago,” he said, “and others I purchased on the secondary market.” He owns about 2,000 Lego sets, each containing anywhere from 100 to 5,000 pieces.

“Beyond that,” he said, “I have containers and containers all organized into small pieces.” Pointing at one filled with green plastic, he added, “There’s a box of grass, or they could be flower stems.”

Throughout the run of the exhibition, Mr. Probert, who lives in Fairfield, will be making changes to his trainscape, rearranging neighborhoods and their occupants so there will always be something new to see. Look carefully, because he has included lots of unexpected details: a skeleton lying across a train track, an octopus hiding under a bridge, Star Wars characters dueling and other surprises.

The sugary structures in “Visions of Gingerbread,” now in its third consecutive year, are also filled with unexpected, if less durable, details — from a pretzel fence with cinnamon stick posts to a snowman in the shape of a pig. The work of this year’s architects — on view in the gallery adjacent to “All Aboard” — comprises eight ornate gingerbread scenes that are 100 percent edible; one is even labeled “allergen free.” Some of the displays, however, use dough that hardens more than traditional gingerbread, and Rosa Portell, the museum’s curator of collections, said that after five weeks on display, “They would not make for pleasant eating.”

Six of the structures were created by bakeries based in Fairfield County, and two were made by museum staff members. Laura Jason, of Dough Girl Baking Company in Rowayton, placed Santa on a sailboat in her “Holiday at Sea.” Lisa and Stephen Maronian, owners of Sweet Lisa’s Exquisite Cakes, in Cos Cob, built a snow-draped Radio City Music Hall, with a trimmed Christmas tree perched on its ledge. In “Lulu & Pippa’s House on Heckscher Farm,” Beth Strauss, an instructor at the museum’s preschool, recreated the pen on the museum grounds that is home to the two baby pigs. Judges have already awarded first, second and third prizes, but a public vote to choose a favorite is being held through the show’s end, on Dec. 18.

“We realize that people are stressed at this time of year with all the holiday preparations,” Ms. Portell said. “So we plan shows where you can bring the whole family and truly get away. What we say is: ‘Come to the museum, and take a holiday from the holidays!’ ”

“All Aboard With Bill Probert and Friends II” runs through Jan. 2. “Visions of Gingerbread III: The Sweetest Architects” is on view through Dec. 18; voting for “fan favorite” can be done at the museum or online. Both are at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center, 39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford. Open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information: (203) 322-1646 or stamfordmuseum.org.

A version of this article appeared in print on November 27, 2011, on page CT11 of the New York edition with the headline: Small Wonders, Made by Hand.


As the new 2012 sets are rolling out we should be compiling LEGO element IDs of the new elements that we would like to order for LUGBULK this upcoming year. I have built nearly every set from the City line other than the new Police copter and Ambulance sets and I have about 20 items that I’d like to order in bulk already!

The New York Tri-State Area Lego Users Group